Today is the deadline for adding players to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule V draft, and the Yankees added five players to their 40-man roster. Right-handed pitchers David Phelps and D.J. Mitchell, infielders Corban Jospeh and David Adams, and outfielder Zoilo Almonte have been protected from being drafted away from the Yankees next month.
Other than Adams, protecting each player was a no-brainer. And even in Adams’ case it probably wasn’t that close of a call. Adams is a pretty good player who can hit reasonably well, with a .291/.375/.477 career minor league line, he just can’t stay healthy. If not for that minor detail, there’d be no question about protecting him as well. I guess the Yankees aren’t willing to part with him yet, on the chance he manages to stay on the field and continues to play well.
Though we knew they were coming, Bud Selig made it official yesterday and announced two major changes coming in 2013. First, the Astros will move from the National League Central to the American League West, finally balancing the two leagues, with 15 teams spread across three divisions in each. I suspect there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth over this but, realistically, it had to happen. Having uneven divisions was fundamentally unfair with so much of a premium being place on winning a division, so barring either a radical realignment of the two leagues or simply adding two team to the A.L. and splitting each league into four divisions of four teams, this was inevitable, and ultimately something everyone will just get used to in time.
The other, more controversial, change Selig is announced is that “playoff expansion” is on the way. I use quotation marks because, frankly, it feels like expansion in name only to me, as Selig also announced that the new “wild-card round” will indeed be a one game playoff between the two wild card teams, after which the postseason will be exactly the same as it is now. That’s cold comfort to the people who don’t like it, of course, and particularly those who hate the idea of the single elimination game which, frankly, I don’t get at all. Trying to squeeze a best of three series in between the end of the regular season and the start of the LDS would present a host of logistical and practical issues, not the least of which being that, in such a scenario, the division winners would have to sit and rust waiting for the wild card round to be completed, arguably giving the wild card team the advantage in the LDS. I think it’s telling that, by all public accounts, Selig favored the three game series while the “baseball people” on his committee reportedly favored the single game format by a wide margin.
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Because, why not? Earlier this week, Ervin Santana had his name thrown into the trade ring by Joel Sherman, and we learned that the Cubs are willing to listen on anyone. Of all the Cubs starters, the one we can dream about the most is Matt Garza. Instead of running them through the trade value [...]
I was looking for something other than hot stove rumors and player breakdowns to write about, when I came across an article by Gina Kolata in yesterday’s New York Times questioning the effectiveness of the hip surgery that Alex Rodriguez underwent two years ago. It wasn’t looking specifically at the Rodriguez case, but rather, the [...]
Hat Tip River Ave Blues for the Twitter Link: @MelissaSeguraSI Source: New MLB CBA said to include a hard cap and a floor for international signings. Unclear when it would go into effect. Obviously, the details are a little light now. If the floor is low enough and the cap is high enough, this might be [...]
Matt Imbrogno touched on this briefly yesterday, but there was one thing that Cash said the other day when speaking the media at the GM meetings that really stood out to me. When asked if he had been engaged in trade talks with any other teams, Cash mentioned that teams had called asking about four specific [...]
The hottest of hot stove talk right now centers around a most unlikely question: will the Phillies trade Cole Hamels this winter? At first blush it’s a downright crazy idea that the Phillies probably shouldn’t seriously consider, but at second glance, there is a glimmer of a rationale for such a move. And when you consider that Ruben Amaro Jr. is still the guy making the decisions in Philly, you realize that they just might be crazy enough to do it.
The general idea behind the logic of trading Hamels seems to be something along these lines; the Phillies’budget is getting tight with big contracts handed out to a few superstars (and Ryan Howard) and the team might not be able to afford Hamels in the long term. While I suppose we could hope for the best, I’m highly skeptical off this assumption. Using Cot’s contract information, the Phillies have $93 million already committed to Howard, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Chase Utley,and Jonathan Papelbon in 2013, plus whatever Hunter Pence is making in his final arbitration year. So let’s put the overall number at roughly $105 million without Hamels, assume Hamels pulls down a $20 million salary in 2013, and we’re left with the Phillies spending $125 million on seven players. Crazy, right?
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The theme out of the GM meetings seems to be that the asking prices for this year’s free agents are really high. Bill Madden says as much in the Daily News, and Jon Heyman tweets specifically that C.J. Wilson is looking for a six year contract worth $120 million. To put that in context, such a contract would make Wilson just the 5th pitcher in baseball history to sign a contract worth $20 million in AAV (if we exclude Roger Clemens), with the others being Johan Santana, C.C. Sabathia, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, and only Santana and Sabathia signed six year contracts worth $20 million per annum. Even the most bullish of Wilson’s supporters probably wouldn’t value him nearly that highly.
But then, that’s sort of the point. That Wilson is asking for $120 million doesn’t tell us anything because a) he should be asking for the moon at this stage of the process and b) what Wilson wants is basically meaningless compared to what other teams are willing to give him. Wilson could ask for the biggest contract in the history of baseball if he wanted to, but that doesn’t mean he’d get it. It doesn’t necessarily mean he’d crack the top ten, for that matter. But some owner might say yes, and that’s the point. The goal of a free agent is to get the most money possible, and you can’t get that without asking for it. And asking has basically no downside; the worst a team can do is say “no,” and one of them may surprise you with a “yes.” Heck, we’re only a year removed from the Angels trading for Vernon Wells‘ contract, so it wouldn’t be the craziest thing that’s happened in recent memory by any stretch.
So that’s where we are in this process. Free agents will be asking for more money than they hope they can get on the off chance someone gives it to them, teams will mostly wait that out while making their own offers, and then in about three weeks or so things will start getting serious, and the market will settle somewhere. The worry right now, if you have your heart set on a particular free agent, isn’t that their agent is asking for the moon, it’s that someone might actually give it to them.
If there’s ever a time when we can dream on trades, it’s now in the middle of November. There isn’t a ton of exciting news, but the GM Meetings are going on, so we can let our imaginations run wild. Yesterday, there was a fair amount of trade-proposal fodder. Let’s start with the biggest potential [...]